A PRISON worker has been arrested after she allegedly helped two convicted murderers escape.
Joyce Mitchell allegedly smuggled contraband into Clinton Correctional Facility, where Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped last weekend.
She gave the pair power tools and goggles with lights to aid their Shawshank Redemption-inspired plot, according to reports.
Mitchell, 51, could face seven years in prison if found guilty.
Charles Guess of New York State police said the arrest was "a large piece of the puzzle in our quest to find these two escaped murderers".
He added: "Our interviews with Joyce Mitchell have been fruitful and productive.
"We're satisfied and we would not have charged her today if we were not satisfied with the productivity of those interviews."
Matt and Sweat, who have both been described as "dangerous", used power tools to cut through a steel wall in their cells last Saturday.
The hole in the wall led the pair to a series of tunnels, which took them to a manhole outside the prison wells.
Guess said chilly weather in New York State has made the hunt for the killers difficult.
But he added: "You've got to assume they're cold, wet, tired and hungry."
Sweat, 34, is serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted of first-degree murder for killing a sheriff's deputy in 2002.
Matt, 48, is serving a sentence for 25 years to life for kidnapping, beating and dismembering a man in 1997.
Theirs was the first escape from the maximum-security portion of the facility since it was built in 1865.